From unemployed to successful author

In May 2012, Antonio Jiménez Barca wrote about him for the first time in the culture pages of El País. Now, he published a short interview with the author on the occasion of the publication of the book’s Spanish translation on January 22, 2013  (others are in preparation, too). We are talking about the Portuguese author João Ricardo Pedro and his book O teu rostro será o último [Your face will be the last one].

Portugal, a country that has been severly hit by the global financial crisis and de-facto ruled by the “troika” of European Commission, ECB, and IMF, does not make the news very often; probably because its inhabitants appear to bear the austerity measures applied by its government stoically, without much noise and violence (in contrast to the Greeks…).

João Ricardo Pedro, a telecommunications engineer, lost his job in 2008 and soon afterwards started writing. Solidly middle-class, married to an economist who has a job, and two kids, he is admittedly not the typical unemployed who faces immediate misery. But the psychologists tell us that the feeling of not being needed any more always hurts. Ricardo Pedro first wrote about his daily life as a “forced homemaker” – to get some exercise in writing; then short stories; and then a fully fledged novel that was in some parts inspired by his family’s history but that should not be read as autobiographical.

The novel is described as a very portuguese one, starting on the morning of April 25, 1974 (the day of the Carnation Revolution) in a lost village somewhere in the Portuguese countryside, and then, with forward and backward leaps in time, narrating the hardships and joys of three generations of the same family.

O teu rostro será o último has won the Leya Prize 2011, endowed with 100.000,- EUR, and it has been on the Portuguese best-seller lists for months. The author is already working on a second novel.

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